Saturday, February 13, 2010


Jane Austen acclaimed by Virginia Woolf as the greatest women writers of her times was born on 16 December 1775 and blessed the lovers of literature with her mortal presence till the 18th day of July 1817, but her literary presence on mother earth is eternal. The reigning queen of English literature of her times was a novelist whose works of romantic fiction made her one of the most loved writers in English literature. Austen's strengths are her realism and her ability to mirror the society through her works.

Austen came from a middle class family or so to say the lower fringes of English gentry of those times with naturally inherited family values and always conscious of their respectable social status. The credit for her education goes primarily to her father as well as her keen interest in self study. A critical factor for Austen blossoming as a professional writer was the constant support of her family. She tried her hand at a number of different literary styles, including the epistolary novel which she tried and then abandoned. With the release of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1811), ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1813), ‘Mansfield Park’ (1814) and ‘Emma’ (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled ‘Sanditon’, but died before completing it.
Austen's plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. During Austen's lifetime, because she chose to publish anonymously, her works brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews. Through the mid-nineteenth century, her novels were admired mainly by members of the literary elite. However, the publication of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen in 1869 introduced her to a far wider public as an appealing personality and kindled popular interest in her works. By the 1940s, Austen had become widely accepted in academia as a "great English writer". By the second half of the 20th century a greater emphasis began to be placed on the artistic, ideological, and historical aspects of Jane Austen’s novels. Today Jane Austen has an ardent fan following all around the globe and many cinematic tributes are being paid to her work through film adaptations of her novels and her life history.

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